By Steps to Recovery on November 14, 2012
Recovery from the disease of addiction is a life long process. It is not something that happens over night, there is no quick cure. This is a very difficult idea for someone who suffers from the disease to wrap their head around. Addicts tend to want instant gratification, we want results! However this is not the reality of recovery. It is quite easy for an addict to get discouraged because they don’t see results as soon as they would like. We have to understand that years of active using can not be fixed over a day, a week, or a few months; some of the damage we have caused may even be permanent. Getting discouraged and living in self-pity, however, is a great equation for a relapse.
There are many “events” in recovery, but recovery as a whole is clearly a process. A process that takes a lot of hard work, and determination. Recovery from the disease of addiction is a complete life style change from active addiction. Everything we have conditioned ourselves to learn over the years of using must be changed. With our delusional thinking, though, we somehow want something to come along and magically do this for us. These magic formulas come in many different ways; a new relationship, a geographical change, some even believe having a kid will save them. However, there is no magic formula to “cure” us. This is something we suffer with for the entirety of our lives, whether actively using or not.
Addiction shows its head in many ugly ways aside from just the substances. The greatest of human beings who get caught in the grips can be conditioned to live an animalistic lifestyle. Just as the actions that got us in the grips of the addiction were done over time, recovery works the same way. 10 years of using will not instantly be cured by a single thought, prayer, or event in our lives. Sometimes we wonder how someone who hasn’t used in 20+ years can go back out, it is simply because just like the addict with a few days, they still suffer from a disease who’s recovery is a lifelong process. It is never gone.
In order to achieve the acceptance of this concept, an addict must first admit they suffer from an incurable, fatal disease. Although it is incurable does not mean it is untreatable. There is proven treatment for the disease of addiction, and none of these proven methods are a single event. They are long term processes. As the old saying goes, recovery is about the journey not the destination. If we constantly look for an end we will never enjoy the gifts of daily life. We suffer from an incurable disease, that if we do not treat on a daily basis, will kill us. Looking for instant gratification is exactly the problem at hand for most addicts, so why would we believe the problem would than become the solution? Even after many years of sobriety people can slip up, and this is all the proof we need to understand the life long process recovery is.